Four ways cash remains indispensable in an electronic world

I happened to have some bills in my wallet the other day, so I bought a poppy for Remembrance Day.

You’ve done this, right? Fold up a bill and shove it through the tiny slot in a plastic container alongside the poppies. Payment by tap would be easier, but the armed forces veteran in my local grocery store was operating on a cash-only basis.

There’s no bigger fan of electronic banking than me – 95 per cent of what I buy is paid for by tap or mobile app. But buying a poppy reminded me there are times when cash is indispensable. Giving to the homeless is another example. Still another is supporting buskers, although I noticed one in a Toronto subway station not too long ago who had a sign posted with his e-mail address. The idea was for his audience to send e-transfers.

I thought of another use for having real money in your pocket while on vacation not too long ago. Hotel staff went above and beyond a couple of times and I tipped in cash.

What I’m doing for cash is carrying a bunch of $5 bills. It’s easy to scale up this way. You can give $5, $10, $15 – whatever. My next use of cash? I’m betting it’s to buy another poppy after my current one falls off my jacket.

More money

Globe personal finance reporter Salmaan Farooqui is writing about the best ways to use money that unexpectedly falls in your lap, whether it’s a gift, lottery winnings or an unexpected inheritance. He’s looking to speak to people who are 45 or older for their opinions on how they’d use sums ranging from $1,000 to $1-million. If you’d like to offer your two cents, send him an e-mail at [email protected].

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Hybrids punch back

An argument is made here that hybrid vehicles have more to offer right now than electric vehicles (EVs). The hybrid category offers more affordable choices, and alleviates range anxiety. I’m thinking hybrid myself for our next vehicle.

Best roadside assistance programs

My wife and I have had a CAA membership for close to 30 years and I doubt we’ve used the service more than 10 times over that period. But, wow, was it ever useful when needed. A while back, when the battery on our car died suddenly in a busy parking lot, a CAA guy arrived with a new battery that he installed in minutes. CAA has competition, though. Here’s a look at 14 roadside assistance programs, some free and some paid.

Aeroplan navigation tips

A tutorial, with screen caps, on how to select the right Aeroplan flight option to get the most value from your Aeroplan points.

Can it make sense to take a lower-paying job?

Someone asks on the Reddit online forum if it makes sense to leave a $100,000 a year job for a lower-paying position with a pension, no commute and more job security. I include this discussion because it highlights different ways of valuing a job beyond straight salary.

Ask Rob

Q: I would like to know how many cycle charges (charge and discharge) an EV battery provides before it needs to be replaced.

A: I consulted my colleague David Berman for an answer here because he writes a column about EV ownership that you can follow here under the Cost of Living banner. Mr. Berman says: The general consensus emerging is that EV batteries should outlast the car, with some degradation in terms of capacity. So, expect an old battery (say 5-10 years) charging to within 90 per cent or more of its original capacity. The number of charges may have less to do with the long-term health of a battery than the way an owner charges. For example, it’s not good for the health of a battery to frequently charge above 80 per cent. And it’s not good to always use fast-chargers. Batteries will last longer if owners generally charge below 80 per cent and use slower chargers found at home or some public facilities (known as level 2 chargers). This article from J.D. Power says that batteries should last 10-20 years.

And this article from The Globe includes this line: “The majority of EVs that have been driven more than 160,000 kilometres in Recurrent’s study still have at least 90 per cent of their original range left.”

EV owners should keep in mind that many manufacturers guarantee batteries for a very long time. Hyundai, for example, offers an eight-year guarantee.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Tools, explainers, guides and charts

A survey of winter tire options. I have used one tire on the list, Nokian Hakkapeliittas, in the past and found them outstanding for traction in snow. Bridgestone Blizzaks are also on the list, and I’ve had good results from them, too.

The Money-Free Zone

The “new” Beatles song Now and Then is a better than average tune as measured against everything else, but it plays like a black-and-while contrast to the usual Beatle technicolour. If you want something fresh from The Beatles, try the Super Deluxe version of Revolver issued last year. Takes one and two of Paperback Writer are a ripping instrumental backing track, and there are multiple versions of Tomorrow Never Knows, all incredible.

Watch this

A financial planner on the importance of life insurance – term life, that is – for millennials.

On social media

Adviser Aravind Sithamparapillai starts a brisk discussion with this post about the poor investment returns of the past two years.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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